Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures

Edinburgh Community Food and Hermitage Park Primary School Parent Association were delighted to have been awarded £3,400 from Leith Chooses (2019/20) to deliver a 3-month inclusive food education pilot called ‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ for nursery families and P7 pupils.  We thank everyone who took the time to go along to Leith Community Centre on 23rd February 2019 to vote for us!

Leith Chooses is a participatory budget process which creates opportunities for communities to get involved in public decisions.  In 2019, Leith Chooses focused their pot of £44,000 on the theme of addressing inequalities, with community projects invited to bid up to £5,000 to undertake work in Leith around the themes of food or supporting vulnerable people.

The money awarded for ‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ was used to buy cooking equipment for the School and support delivery of weekly cooking sessions with nursery families and separate sessions with P7 pupils.  The project was delivered by Jo Howie, one of our Registered Associate Nutritionist at Edinburgh Community Food, with the support of school staff and parent volunteers.  The project aimed to address food inequality, introduce new foods to families, encourage healthy eating and increase confidence in cooking at home.  The group sessions supported this by teaching basic cooking skills and increasing nutritional knowledge, and discussed ways to overcome barriers to help achieve a healthy balanced diet on a budget. 

English is not the first language for 11% of Hermitage Park school pupils and we wanted to help celebrate the different cultures within the school.  We involved students and their families in suggesting Turkish, Bengali, Polish (and many more) recipes and translations to produce a multi-cultural recipe book, which we wanted to share with the wider community.  Pupils were encouraged to draw pictures for the recipe book and we included photographs of the cooking sessions and interesting nutrition and shopping savvy information.  You can find a copy here or you can buy a hard copy of the book from the school for £3.  All funds received from the sale of the cookbook will go towards funding a similar project with P7 pupils in future years.

The recipes used in the cooking groups aimed to be healthy, easy to follow and low cost to encourage participants make the recipes again at home.  Nursery families and pupils were able to take home the meals cooked for their families. 

‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ cooking sessions began on Thursday 9th of May with 4 nursery parents and their children.  In their first week they cooked Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup.  It’s so lovely to hear children excited about cooking and eating healthy food. One child commented “This is so yummy!”.  All the families really enjoyed the recipe and wanted to make it again at home.

The parents and children also learned about the Eatwell Guide which shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.  Here, the children are deciding which food cards go in which food group category.  They were very good at this!


Throughout the sessions, nursery parents learned how to plan their meals and what to do with leftovers to help reduce their food waste.  This in turn helped reduce their carbon footprint and save them money on their food shopping!  

Parent participants were also given the chance to apply for free accredited REHIS qualifications delivered by Edinburgh Community Food in:

  • Food and Health (helping people to understand the links between the food we eat and our health);
  • Food Hygiene (required for working in catering/food handling jobs and increases employability opportunities);
  • Allergy Awareness (raises awareness of issues around allergies, coeliac disease & intolerances and how to cater for sufferers in a variety of contexts); and
  • Eating Well for Older People (provides participants with the knowledge and appreciation of the importance of good nutrition for older people and how to support them to eat well).

We started ‘Feeding Healthy Hermie Futures’ cooking sessions with Primary 7 pupils after the summer holidays and the children really loved the cooking and activities and were enthusiastic throughout, asking lots of interesting questions.  We highlighted the importance of eating for good health and making healthy food and drink choices.  They learned how to read food labels to help them make informed choices when buying food and drinks as part of their growing independence before reaching High School. 

Article from the Edinburgh Evening News 1 April 2020

At the end of the course, all the P7 pupils received a certificate and one of our Take and Make Spicy Tomato Pasta meal kits to take home and cook for their family. 

The Hermitage Park Parent Association has agreed to fund this project to run again in 2020/21, which is fantastic!